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Annual event will raise funds for animal shelter

Lindsey Harms of Spicer, a volunteer at Hawk Creek Animal Shelter in Willmar, holds a kitten named Polar at the shelter. Alongside Harms is a set of autographed Metrodome stadium seats that will be part of the auction items during this year’s Save Our Tails event. Also pictured is Sweetie, a 6-year-old border collie/German shepherd cross. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

WILLMAR — Two autographed seats from the old Metrodome are among the items to be auctioned off when the Humane Society of Kandiyohi and Meeker Counties holds its annual Save Our Tails fundraiser Feb. 28.

Organizers hope to raise $22,000 to support programs and services at the Hawk Creek Animal Shelter in Willmar.

The annual fundraiser is an important event for the local Humane Society, said Sharon Mace, executive director.

“We serve a wide area — Kandiyohi and Meeker Counties,” she said. “It’s crucial to our sustainability.”

Save Our Tails is at 6 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Willmar Conference Center. The evening includes live piano music, a buffet, a silent auction, a live dessert auction and a supervised game room for children.

A bidding war is anticipated for the Metrodome seats, which are autographed by Glen Perkins of the Minnesota Twins and by former Twins Dan Gladden and Tom Brunansky, who were on the team that won the 1987 World Series. Other prizes up for grabs include an authentic Italian dinner and an assortment of themed gift baskets.

Partygoers also will have a chance to contribute toward a special fund to buy fencing for enlarging the outdoor exercise pens for the shelter’s dogs.

This is the annual fundraiser’s eighth year, and the event has become both well-established and successful, said Martha Alsleben, chairwoman.

“People now hear ‘Save Our Tails’ and they know what it is. I do think the awareness is higher,” she said.

Organizers met their goal last year of raising $20,000, including a special appeal to fund a new surgical table for the animal shelter.

“Each year the amount of money raised increases,” Mace said. “Yes, it does help. Hopefully it’ll keep growing.”

The shelter receives annual allocations from Kandiyohi and Meeker Counties and some of the cities, including Willmar, but otherwise receives no outside support from state or national groups such as the Humane Society of the United States, said Mace. Most of the operating budget relies on whatever can be raised through fees and donations, she said.

Meanwhile, activity at the shelter has been rising. Last year more than 1,500 animals came through the doors of the Hawk Creek Animal Shelter in need of food, veterinary attention and new homes.

“The need grows every year,” Alsleben said.

She and Mace said the Save Our Tails event has become one of the key ways for the Humane Society to share its message and celebrate the bond that exists between people and companion animals.

“So many times people will say to me, ‘I really believe in the Humane Society but I just can’t go down to the shelter.’ This is one way they can become engaged and contribute to the cause,” Alsleben said.

Tickets to Save Our Tails are $25 for adults and $7 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available in advance at the Hawk Creek Animal Shelter, 250 28th St. S.W., Willmar, or at the door the night of the event.

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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